Video of LB Clifton Garrett
Alabama not in Clifton Garrett’s Top Five; Criteria centers on ability to ‘play as soon as possible, academics, and feeling comfortable with teammates and a coaching staff’
By Dave Friedman
Clifton Garrett has been very good to United Airlines. A star linebacker from Plainfield South High School in Joliet, Ill, his recruitment has involved a bunch of flights from United’s Chicago hub to cities throughout the country. At various points over the last year he has shown interest in Alabama, Florida, LSU, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee and USC. At 6’2” and 225 pounds, his high school coach thinks he possesses not only the size, but the full range of skills needed to succeed at the next level.
“He closes extremely well,” said Cougars coach Ken Bublitz. “He runs downhill, finishes plays, and can get from sideline to sideline. He’s very hard to block one-on-one. He just makes plays.”
After running track as a freshman, Clifton Garrett has been fully dedicated to football throughout the year during the past three seasons. When not on the field, he trains at Core 6 Athletes. The facility is run by former college and pro athletes, particularly football players, who tailor workout regimens to elite prospects.
“He a workout guy,” said Bublitz. “Core 6 is a place that has earmarked workouts for football players. It has really improved his skills and physical performance. There are a lot of guys there who want to be college players. With competition comes players that you want to be better than, and that makes you work harder.”
Garrett was impressed when he visited Alabama, particularly with the atmosphere, but Bublitz is “not sure they’re in his top five.” While distance from home is not a major factor, his coach said that a combination of being able to play as soon as possible, academics, and feeling comfortable with teammates and a coaching staff are important.
As good a player as Clifton Garrett is, Bublitz thinks his intangibles set him apart.
“He’s as personable a young man as you’ll ever meet,” said Bublitz. “He is attractive to his teammates on and off the field. He inspires kids around him to work harder, practice, and strive to do better. He knows what makes them tick. He motivates and really takes on a coaches role. If he wasn’t a football player, he’d still be popular because he is such a solid individual”
While his training is above average for a high school player, Garrett has plenty of room to improve. With continued steps forward, Bublitz thinks he can be special.
“It’s a matter of experience,” said Bublitz. “When he gets in a system, he’ll learn day in and day out. He has the ability to get better. He hasn’t fully filled out yet. He’ll learn the vocabulary, responsibilities, and techniques. The sky’s the limit.”